Who Was Otto Wichterle ?
Todays Google honors the man who helps the world see eye to eye! Around 140 million people across the globe wear contact lenses, you may or may not be one of them but the story of the Czech chemist who invented the soft contact lens—Otto Wichterle—might give you some fresh insight. Let’s celebrates Otto Wichterle’s 108th birthday…..
Otto Wichterle was born on 27th October in 1913 in Prostĕjov, the Czech Republic (then, Austria-Hungary). From childhood, he is in a great love of science. Wichterle went on to earn his doctorate in organic chemistry in 1936 from the Prague Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT). He taught as a professor at his alma mater during the 1950s while developing an absorbent and transparent gel for eye implants.
Because of some Political turmoil, Wichterle got out of ICT, leading him to continue refining his hydrogel development at home. In 1961, Wichterle (a glasses wearer himself) produced the first soft contact lenses with a DIY apparatus made of a child’s erector set, a bicycle light battery, a phonograph motor, and homemade glass tubing and molds. As the inventor of countless patents and a lifelong researcher, Wichterle was elected the first President of the Academy of the Czech Republic following the country’s establishment in 1993.
Wichterle is most well-known as the inventor of contact lenses but he didn’t stop here. His innovations also laid the foundation for state-of-the-art medical technologies such as “smart” biomaterials, which are used to restore human connective tissues, and bio-recognizable polymers, which have inspired a new standard for drug administration.
Happy birthday, Otto Wichterle—thanks for gifting the world see clearly eye to eye !